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  Report on Enhanced Framework (SUSTAIN) and Field Applications for Placement of BMPs in Urban Watersheds (EPA/600/R-11/144) November 2011

The System for Urban Stormwater Treatment and Analysis Integration (SUSTAIN) was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide stormwater managers with a decision support system for the cost-efficient selection and placement of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) in urban watersheds. The SUSTAIN modeling system integrates simulation based on sound science and engineering principles, with cost estimation tools, and optimization to support users in selecting the best solutions on the basis of cost and effectiveness. This report documents the enhancements to the system since the initial release of version 1.0 in October 2009 (Shoemaker et al., 2009; http://www.epa.gov/nrmrl/wswrd/wq/models/sustain/). Two case studies also provide insight into the application of the system, and demonstrate the utility of SUSTAIN in evaluating the use of green infrastructure (GI) in communities addressing the mitigation of combined sewer overflows (CSOs).

SUSTAIN's innovative integration of optimization and simulation of BMP performance in a watershed setting provides significant capabilities to support the evaluation of various configurations of BMPs, the impact of local site conditions on BMP placement, and the types and relative costs of the BMPs available. At the same time, the flexibility and range of application complexity available within SUSTAIN provide choices for users in developing the appropriate configuration for a specific watershed application.

Through the use of case studies in Kansas City, MO, and Louisville, KY, the implications of assumptions in the application of SUSTAIN are evaluated. The SUSTAIN model including recent enhancements was demonstrated to perform well in predicting the hydrologic response and matched previous applications using other modeling systems. In particular, the addition of a sub-hourly time step improved the ability of SUSTAIN to predict hydrologic response and peak flow from design storms used as a basis for planning many CSO and stormwater programs. The addition of aggregate BMP tools facilitated the use of the model in Louisville and other regions where users want to evaluate the benefits of many, in some cases hundreds or thousands of smaller BMPs across a large catchment. The optimization process applied in the case studies was also shown to be highly sensitive to BMP cost data in selecting the most efficient solutions.

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